6 Tips To Help You Conquer Your Cravings

For me, one of the most difficult parts of this entire weight loss journey is knowing how to make the right choices when a craving strikes. Whether it be for the jar of peanut butter, a delicious piece of pizza, or the Hersey’s kisses in the candy jar, I get cravings regularly, and they’re often the reason my day doesn’t go as planned.  Let’s face it, if we didn’t have to fight off cravings, odds are we wouldn’t be in the situation where we need to lose weight anyway, right?  What’s a gal to do?

What we need are ways to conquer our cravings so we can take back control and eat the things we want when we decide to rather than allow a craving to decide for us. Here are 6 tips to help you (and me) beat those cravings next time we’re wanting something that doesn’t fit into our day.

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The Diva Diaries First Post

Well hello there. Welcome to a brand new section of my blog that I’ve decided to call “The Diva Diaries.” I was inspired by the book I’m currently reading, The Adventures of Dietgirl, to start a journaling section of the site that I can basically treat like a much less formal (I know my blog isn’t “formal” anyway,) place where I basically write as if I was writing in my notebook journal.  The book is the story of one woman’s weight loss journey all written in journal entry format, and the more I read, the more I was feeling compelled to do something similar.

I’m not sure what you can expect from my Diva Diaries posts because it’s a journal, so it’s going to be whatever is on my mind. My goal is to center it around my ongoing weight loss journey, but you never know where my mind might go.  What I can promise is plenty of struggles, discoveries, victories, failures, and everything else that goes into this crazy little thing called life 

On Tuesday’s vlog, I decided to ask if you would like to see some more journal type entries from me, like what I was reading in the book, and there were enough people who said yes that I decided it was a go!  So last night I created an image, and the Diva Diaries was born.  

I weigh in tomorrow, so things will officially start then! 

2017 Goals

I know I’m a little behind, it being almost the end of January and all, but better late than never, right? As I’ve mentioned in vlogs over on my YouTube channel, 2016 was a year of me failing to reach my goals.  I just wasn’t motivated, and was easily distracted and discouraged so not much got done. This year, I have some goals (some old, some new) that I’m hoping to achieve. Along with the new goals comes a fresh new dose of motivation.  I’m hoping to buckle down and really make 2017 the best year yet.  

Health Goals

My number one goal is to get back down to my goal weight. The only thing is..I don’t know what my new goal weight is yet.  Last time I hit goal, I weighed 135lbs, but it turns out that was a little too thin for my body, and certain parts of me looked too bony. That being said, I clearly overcompensated with fixing that problem. This time around, I plan on starting the journey back down (because no change really happened in 2016), but I’ll lose at least 15 lbs and then I’ll play it by ear. 

I want to focus more on being healthy and fit rather than just losing weight, so who knows what my body will look like, but I do know I want to fit back into my goal jeans (aka my pair of clearance jeans from American Eagle I had as my goal jeans last time). I love those jeans.  We’ll just have to see what the final number ends up being, but I’m hoping to reach it in 2017. 

Blog Goals

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Weight Loss Tool Kit

Weight Loss Tool Kit

Your repairman has his truck full of tools, a teacher has supplies, and even Batman has his utility belt.  Everyone has some sort of toolkit so they can do their job to the best of their ability.  Losing weight is no different. In order to successfully lose weight, it really helps to have a toolkit (or a utility belt, if you want to go the superhero route) to help you get the most out of your weight loss efforts.  While everyone’s toolkit will look a little bit different based on personal preferences, I thought I’d share my tools with you to give you a basic guideline to help you create a toolkit of your very own.  Some of my tools are actual physical items while others are more mental or non-tangible, but I find both categories to be equally important as I go along my journey to the healthiest me I can be.

Water Bottle

I am never without a water bottle, and if for some reason I am, I promise I’m not happy about it.  At any given time I have 2 “active” water bottles; one with a straw for while I’m at home, as I find I drink more water when it’s through a straw and one that is more secure for when I’m on the go.  Hydration is so important, both for health and for weight loss, so I always have a water bottle nearby to encourage me to get my daily requirement of H2O.

A Food Scale

No matter which plan you use to lose weight, odds are it involves portioning your food in some way. I find this easiest when I’m using an electronic food scale.  When meal time comes around, I just put the plate on the scale and can measure each meal component separately (hit the “zero” button to start fresh) and easily so I know exactly how many Smart Points (or calories) I put on my plate. I find there is a lot less room for error measuring the weight og your food rather than cups or tablespoons. 

A Plan

Whether you join Weight Watchers, Beach Body, you use My Fitness Pal, or you decide to just count calories on your own, you need to have some sort of plan when it comes to losing weight. You can’t just say “I’m going to lose weight” and have it magically happen (I wish!). You know there are going to be lifestyle changes and maybe even a sacrifice or two in order to see changes in your body, and to achieve that successfully, odds are you have some desired method to get there.  That’s also known as a plan. Get one.

Sleep

Sleep is another one of those life essentials, but it’s something that many of us take for granted or forget to place importance on.  Have you ever noticed what happens to your food intake on a day that you don’t get enough sleep? It’s very likely that your day is played out in one of two scenarios. 1: You stick to your diet plan all day (good for you!), but you spend the day drowsy, grumpy, and likely overcaffeinated but still unable to perform to the best of your ability.  Scenario 2: You are likely making poor food choices because you’re using food to not only satiate hunger but to gain extra energy to make up for the lack of sleep.  Guess what type of foods we usually reach for.. sugary and fatty quick jolts of energy that last until the next time we can put something in our mouths to refuel.  This is not helping your diet at all.  Getting a quality night’s sleep as often as possible will help you stay away from impulse eating due to hunger.  Get those Zzzzs to lose the lbs.  

A Food Journal

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again.  Studies have shown that people who write down what they eat will consume 30% fewer calories than people who don’t.  Whether you use an app like Weight Watchers or My Fitness Pal or you decide to use the tried and true notebook and pen, use something to keep track of your food intake.  This helps me to see what I’ve eaten, or more importantly, what I can still eat and remain on track.  

A Goal (or several small goals)

Goals help keep me motivated.  I typically set large goals (to get back to my goal weight) supported and broken up by smaller goals (to drink 100oz of water daily or to reach 12,500 steps) to help me stay on track. When we reach a goal we get to enjoy the positive feeling of accomplishing something, so smaller goals are great for giving us little things to accomplish while we work toward the bigger goal.  

A “Why”

What is your “why?” In other words, why do you want to lose weight? Is it so you can run around and play with your children, so you look better and feel more confident naked? Maybe you just want to fit back into your favorite pair of jeans.  Having a “why” is not the same as having a goal.  Your “why” is the motivation behind your goals. It’s the big picture and the reason you got inspired to set your goal to lose weight in the first place.  Once you’ve established your “why” take the time to embrace it.  Leave yourself little motivational reminders that constantly inspire you to make the better food choice or to go for an extra walk.  The “why” is the root of everything. If you haven’t figured out what it is yet, take the time to do that now.  

A stash of go-to snacks

Once you’ve figured out your plan of action, it’s incredibly important to find your favorite foods in that plan.  I have a stash of go to Weight Watchers friendly foods and snacks that are easily available should hunger strike in between meals. Having diet friendly snack options around is an easy way to save you from yourself at a time when willpower won’t necessarily be at its strongest. 

An Activity Tracker

I love my Fitbit.  It turns every single day into a goal and a game.  Every day I compete with myself to make it to my daily step goal, but if I want to take the game to the next level, FitBit allows me to compete with friends. There have definitely been days where I’ve been pushed harder simply because I was in a race to get more steps than a friend of mine. All competitive games aside, an activity tracker is a great way for you to get more accurate insight on how much activity you’re actually getting on a daily basis. I’m willing to bet a pretty high percentage of people greatly overestimate how much activity they’re getting on a daily basis. Whether FitBit is your tracker of choice or you prefer another brand, I highly suggest investing in an activity tracker to help you take your weight loss efforts to the next level. 

A selection of easy to make recipes

Just like being prepared for a snack attack is important, it’s also important to have a few easy, diet-friendly recipes that you enjoy enough to make regularly.  When you have simple recipes to pick from it’s less of a hassle to make dinner at the end of a long day when your desire might be to run to the nearest fast food restaurant to grab dinner because the thought of making it is exhausting.  In my house, we often eat basic chicken with quinoa and veggies on the weekend and I will often spend a few hours in the kitchen chopping all sorts of veggies and meat to meal prep for the entire week.  Then, when dinner time for one comes around, all I have to do is turn on the oven and pull out one of my pre-made meals out of the fridge.  Easy and healthy. 

Rewards

I am a very reward driven person. If I’m told I can earn something awesome for finishing a task, I’m much more likely to do it.  I love applying this principle to losing weight.  If I’ve had a good week where I stay on track and hit the gym regularly, I might treat myself to an at-home spa night. If I’ve lost 5 lbs, it’s probably time for a pedicure.  10 lbs = a new pair of cute pants.  See what I’m getting at? It’s a little bit easier for me to think twice about the late night snack attack or skipping the gym when I know that new lipstick I’ve been dying to try is on the line.  While the rewards themselves can look different for everyone, a rewards system is a nice way to treat yourself for a job well done.

Those are some of my favorite items in my weight loss tool kit.  Becuase everyone’s journey is unique, everyone will have a slightly different tool kit.  What is important is you find the set of tools that work best for you.  A good tool kit is like an awesome sidekick.  You might succeed without it, but it will be a heck of a lot easier to get the job done with the extra help.

What kind of items are in your weight loss tool kit?  

 

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Weight Loss A-Z

Rules of Weight Loss A-Z

When it comes to weight loss and healthy living, everyone has their own tips and tricks that work for them.  I decided to get a little creative and wanted to come up with something for every letter of the alphabet.  After some thought and creative liberties, here are 26 tips, tricks, or plain old facts of life that I use to find success in my weight loss journey.

A- Attitude

When it comes to losing weight, attitude is everything.  If you come from a negative space about food, fitness, and your body, it’s could be 20 times harder to find the success you’re looking for.  A positive attitude about your body and about the journey you’re on will definitely keep your sprits up and the scale down. 

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Smart Points Friendly Snacks On-the-Go |Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale

Weight Watchers friendly snacks for the new Smart Points plan.

If you’ve started following the new Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale program that uses Smart Points instead of points plus, you’ve probably noticed that it’s a lot harder to enjoy some snacks and sweet treats while staying on plan. When Weight Watchers was using Points Plus, I had my snacking down to a science, especially when it came to on-the-go products. It’s taken me a little bit of time, but I finally found a few go to treats that satisfy my sweet tooth without breaking my Smart Points budget for the day. Since I’m sure I’m not the only one who struggled with this low sugar transition, I’ve decided to share a few of my favorites with you.  Many of these options work well with the high-protein, low sugar lifestyle that the beyond the scale plan is encouraging us to live on a daily basis. Read more

How to Calculate Smart Points for Smoothies

How to calculate the Smart Points Value of your Smoothie

One of my favorite things about eating on Weight Watchers is that when I eat fresh fruits and veggies, they don’t count against my daily Smart Points intake.  Yes, there are a few exceptions (I’m looking at you avocados, potatoes, corn, etc.), but in general, that’s the rule..with one HUGE exception: when you blend produce to make smoothies.  I see “How do you track Smart Points for smoothies?” asked all over the place, and since I just learned the easy answer myself, I figured I’d tell you. Read more

Easter Candy Cheat Sheet |Weight Watchers Smart Points Edition

EasterTitle

Okay friends, here’s the scoop.  As I’m sure you know by now, Weight Watchers launched a new program that completely redefined the values of our Points system.  This means that everything you knew about Points Plus is now irrelevant and Smart Points are the new Weight Watchers tracking system.  With the introduction to Smart Points came the recalculating of everything we had the PP values memorized on.  This, of course, includes our beloved Easter candy.  While I had an entire Easter Candy Cheat Sheet made up with Points Plus values (and it’s still valid for those who chose to stay on that plan), I felt compelled to write up another cheat sheet for the majority of us who transitioned to the Beyond the Scale plan with Smart Points.

Due to the nature of Smart Points, which really cracks down on our sugar intake (and for a good reason), you will notice that the Smart Points values of your favorite Easter goodies have gone up drastically.  While this is in fact a sad thing, don’t shoot the messenger.  I’m just here to tell it like it is.  I didn’t get a hold of every candy out there, but I did pick up some of my personal favorites and I wanted to share the calculations with you.  Without further ado, here’s the Easter Candy Cheat Sheet with Smart Points.

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The Day I Realized Sugar IS the Problem

Sugar Is the problem

You know how sometimes, no matter how many times people tell you something is bad for you, you just need to realize it and come to terms with it on your own before you’re willing to do anything about it?  That bad relationship, smoking, losing weight.. Whatever the thing is, and no matter how many times people warn you or try to help you, in order to truly do something about it for good, you have to decide for yourself.  Then it’s a whole new ball game. 

That’s what happened to me and my relationship with sugar this week.

Sugar is one of the hottest topics in health, fitness, and weight loss at the moment.  There are countless articles about why it is one of the most horrible things for your body.  While sugar is fat free, there are claims that a diet full of fat is better than a diet full of sugar.  I’ve been reading all of these articles (like the one I found this morning) for quite some time knowing that there is plenty of truth to them, but unwilling to admit that I was one of many that had a problem or suffered the consequences of excessive sugar intake. After all, I rocked the Weight Watchers Points Plus program. I knew exactly what foods to eat that kept me in my Points budget and still gave me treats that satisfied my sweet tooth.  I am nowhere near diabetic, and while I have some weight to lose (again), I’m not in any danger health-wise.  This sugar thing didn’t effect me at all… or so I thought.

After quite a physical and emotional struggle for awhile now, the other day I made a Facebook and Instagram post where I basically declared that I had finally gotten my health and fitness groove back.  For 4 or so days I was eating like a rockstar on the new Weight Watchers plan which, for good reason, cracks down on sugar intake. I was eating high protein, whole foods, and even found a few treats that satisfied a sugar craving without containing much sugar at all.  I noticed that I woke up on my own (I don’t usually set an alarm, as I don’t need to be anywhere, and with CMT, sleep is super important) earlier and feeling more energized. I was able to focus and get a lot done, both physically (like a 2.5 hr gym session and cleaning the house) and mentally with less distraction and exhaustion.  I was also able to fall asleep a bit faster AND my skin started to look clearer than it had in ages.  Granted, the skin thing could be thanks to the new skincare products I’m trying out, but you never know.  The last thing I noticed was my mood was also generally better. I felt closer to my husband romantically, and content with life in general, both of which can be challenges in the everyday life of the wife of a traveling businessman.  That topic will eventually get a whole post of it’s own.

Fast forward to two days ago.  **Prepare for some real honest confessions and real-talk here** I went shopping to get stuff for an Easter candy post I’m working on..which meant that the “stuff” was really a variety of Easter candies.  While I worked on photos for my post, I had to open some things to get pictures of the products.  Well, needless to say it was more than a few jellybeans or chocolates that made their way into my mouth. Lack of self control is definitely a big issue of mine.. Not only did I experience immediate regret for what I had consumed (especially after knowing all of the Smart Points values, as they were all written down in my notebook next to me), but a few hours later, my body started to feel a bit off.  

The next day was no better.  First, it was a snow day (winter weather advisory and I had no plans) so I decided to stay in.  I treated myself to the delicious Amish cinnamon roll that my mom had given me the night before.  Hey, I paired it with fruit, and I’m supposed to treat myself once and awhile.  But of course, the cinnamon roll wasn’t the only sugar I ate that day.  I might have tasted a few more types of the Easter candy stash after lunch..  The results of the 2 day sugar “binge” blew my mind, even in the midst of my sugary snacking.

First, it was no secret that even after I had more than enough sugar filled goodness, all I wanted was more! I realized just how insane and dark the sugary rabbit hole really was.  It didn’t matter how full I was or how much sugar I had already consumed, all I could think about was wanting more sugar! There was my lightbulb moment: It really is an addiction.  

I also paid close attention to how I was feeling, from the Easter candy photoshoot and throughout the next day.  I woke up groggy and sleepy, with little desire to do anything but sit on the couch (with sugary snacks) and watch Netflix all day.  At the same time, my mind and body were both racing, hopped up on sugar, but unable to focus on any one task.  It was a miracle I managed to get yesterday’s blog post up at all.  I was unsatisfied and unmotivated, energized (sugar rush) but exhausted at the same time, and my body felt gross; bloated, confused, and just blah. It was horrible.  Why did I let myself do that? Why would anyone let themselves do that??

I went to bed last night seriously reflecting on the past 48 hours and the over sugared hours they had been. It was then that I truly accepted that all I had been reading over the past several months about sugar and how bad really is for the body is TRUE.  It’s not something that should be considered by just some people, but everyone needs to take a look at what they’re eating.  To be honest, I don’t think that my sugar craze would have been such an “ah ha” moment if it wasn’t for how awesome I was feeling in the several days before.  There was clearly a direct connection between how awesome I was feeling when I was eating a healthy, balanced, low sugar diet versus how terrible I was feeling after those 2 days of the complete opposite.  Needless to say I woke up today making a different kind of commitment to myself.  Not only did I want to actually eat the way I was “supposed” to, but after acknowledging just how crappy the sweet stuff makes me feel, I knew I wanted to approach treats differently too.  

Now, for those that know me, I am a chocoholic through and through, so I’m definitely not saying I’m giving up sugar for good.  I personally don’t believe in depriving yourself of any specific food unless it causes a legitimate health issue (like eating peanut butter if you’re highly allergic to peanuts), because feeling deprived can lead to bigger binges and other problems.  However, my approach will definitely be different from here on out.  I am going to continue the trend I had going (until my candy run at Target) which was to have very minimal dessert options at home (which were low sugar to begin with) and treat myself to the “real” desserts every so often, like taking dessert home after a dinner out.  That way, there’s only one serving, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.  I’m sure I’ll have a post on managing a sweet tooth later on.  

I guess my whole point to my really long ramble is this: Friends, what you are reading about sugar is 110% true. I’m not basing that statement on any scientific research whatsoever. I’m simply basing that on my personal experience, and for me, that is enough of a reason to reconsider my relationship with sugar entirely.  Get educated, read the articles you see floating around blogs and Facebook, and believe me when I say that cutting down your sugar intake will impact your body and mind in a positive way. The other day I actually said “I felt like superwoman for a few hours.”  That’s a pretty awesome way to feel.  If cutting back on sugar can make me feel like that for a little while every day, it’s totally worth it.  

What have your experiences with sugar been? Let me know in the comments below! I want to know your story, knowledge, and thoughts on this hot button topic.  

 

Chocolate Overnight Oats |Weight Watchers Friendly, High Protien

Chocolate Overnight Oats

The other day I accidentally made a creation that is certainly going to become a staple in my breakfast routine.  I’ve seen overnight oats on blogs and Instagram photos a ton lately, and they always look so pretty and sound so good.  I was feeling inspired and decided to try my own twist on it.  I went over to Trader Joe’s and found rolled oats at a reasonable price (I’ll be honest, I don’t even know if rolled oats are the  “proper” oats to use) and the adventure began.

Many recipes called for using almond milk and many have things in it that, while healthy, makes the Smart Points values add up quickly.  Since I wanted more protein, I oped to try mixing them in with my fat free Greek yogurt (2 Smart Points) instead.  I used 1/4 C, mixed it up, and let it sit. It turned out to be quite thick, but to the point of dry and not all that awesome.  Back to the drawing board.

Thursday night I had a thought..because you know, I’m always thinking about food and random inspiration can strike at any time..  What if I used almond milk but put my Quest protein powder in it first??  Genius!  Guess what? It worked!  I ended up with the richest, chocolatey-est, dessert-esqe breakfast that only cost me 6 Smart points.  While it might not be the prettiest looking thing, I don’t care, because to me, it tastes awesome.

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